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Road-builder in Belize says landowner gave permission to excavate Mayan pyramid mound

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    In this image released by Jaime Awe, head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology on Monday May 13, 2013, a backhoe claws away at the sloping sides of the Nohmul complex, one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids on May 10, 2013 in northern Belize. A construction company has essentially destroyed one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids with backhoes and bulldozers to extract crushed rock for a road-building project, authorities announced on Monday. (AP Photo/Jaime Awe)The Associated Press

  • 34b99c1d1275c610310f6a706700af25.jpg

    In this image released by Jaime Awe, head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology on Monday May 13, 2013, a looks at the damaged sloping sides of the Nohmul complex, one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids on May 10, 2013 in northern Belize. A construction company has essentially destroyed one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids with backhoes and bulldozers to extract crushed rock for a road-building project, authorities announced on Monday. (AP Photo/Jaime Awe)The Associated Press

The owner of a road-building company in Belize that has been blamed for the near destruction of one of the country's biggest Mayan pyramids says a landowner gave permission to extract the material.

Businessman Denny Grijalva says the landowner has allowed excavations on his property for more than a decade.

Archeologists in Belize and around the world have expressed outrage at the demolition of the Nohmul complex in northern Belize to extract crushed rock.

Grijalva says in a statement that the foreman at his De' Mar's Stone Co. picked the pyramid mound for digging out rock and workers excavated all day last Thursday. He says they stopped excavating the next day after several officials from the National Institute of History and Culture instructed them to stop.